In 2009, a young quarterback for the Florida Gators named Tim Tebow was playing in the BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma. Later banned by the NCAA, Tebow wrote a Bible verse, “John 3:16,” in eye black beneath his eyes for the game. Afterward, some 90 million people googled the verse that reads:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
What is the significance of this popular Scripture passage that you see on the back of trucks, hats, and even on star quarterbacks? Well, I believe this little verse encapsulates the message of Scripture in its entirety. Its origin stems from a conversation Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus who, under the cover of darkness, snuck out to meet with Jesus, fearful of what people might think about him.
While Nicodemus was impressed by Jesus’ signs, he believed that he was going to heaven based on his obedience and good works. Jesus replied to Nicodemus that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This not only shattered Nicodemus’ assumption but made it plain that only those who have received the grace of God and are born again will go to heaven.
It’s the same today. People think they are saved because of their faith practices, family traditions, or by living a good life. For many, religion is like a ladder. They climb the ladder with their good works such as loving others, attending church, going on mission trips, or giving to charity, but these things can’t save you from your sinful state.
The only way is through the cross of Christ, where we each must bring our sin and shame before a holy God, seek His forgiveness, and surrender our lives to Him. Like Nicodemus, Jesus says to each one of us, “You cannot see the kingdom of God unless you are born again.” Might the Spirit of God be calling you right now?
If so, why not join me over at www.boldstepsradio.org where I’ve made a video that walks you through how to know Christ. Just look for the “My Next Step” tab. And if you’re not ready but want to continue learning and seeking to understand, click the link below to listen to this timely sermon.
A piece of my heart will always be in Spain. It’s where my siblings and I grew up after my parents left our home in America to become missionaries when I was very young. Another reason is because my dear mom, who is now in her 80s, is still living and serving the people she loves as she’s able to. Dee and I are here in Spain now enjoying time with my mom and many dear friends whom we’ve stayed in touch with over the years. Would you take a moment to pray with me for the people of Spain, that they would know the saving message of the gospel? That is where true heart change can begin.
Mark Jobe serves as president of Moody Bible Institute and host of Moody Radio's Bold Steps. He is the author of Unstuck: Out of Your Cave into Your Call (Moody Publishers). He is also the founding pastor of New Life Community Church, a Chicago-based ministry with 27 locations throughout Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children.
Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe takes you on the path to freedom and authenticity in Christ. With candid, topical teaching from God’s Word, Dr. Jobe offers simple gospel messages with the power to transform your life.